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  • The Storyteller

Hello, Please Listen Attentively

There have been many funny, frustrating, bewildering episodes of miscommunication with hotel staff. Here are some highlights:

  • I had called Guest Services to request for some string to tie my box for checking-in. While I thought the person had understood this simple request, I received a call shortly after from Room Service, asking if I had wanted to order a drink.

  • We informed the sommelier that we did not need to taste the wine, but he still poured some into the glass for our sampling.

  • Despite us informing the waiter that we would like two of the dishes to arrive together – and the order taker confirming so – they still came separately 5 minutes apart.

  • I called to request for some blank A4 paper, and the person thought I wanted to have black pepper.

  • I called the operator to ask if there was a message left for me (as I was expecting one from one of the departments). I was asked to hold the line, and then moments later, asked if I was checking out. (Perhaps the operator has just assumed message = billing message = checkout?)

  • Calling In-Room Dining to come clear the tray, and I received a call back an hour later to ask if I have finished the meal and if they could come and clear. (Made me wonder what the first person had heard in the first place!)

  • Anecdote from an industry veteran: Housekeeping attendant asked the couple if he could turn down the room in the evening. Perhaps the employee had said something like “For turndown please” along with a palm gesture; but what the guests interpreted was him asking “Four dollars please”. (Amazingly, the couple gave the surprised employee $4, closed the door and then complained thereafter that staff was going around asking for money!)

Reflective thoughts: Do we hear what we want to hear, or are we really paying attention to what is being said? Share some examples with the team today.

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